Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 25.8 million
- people are projected to be acutely food insecure between January – June 2023
- 6.3 million
- people are internally displaced
- 2.6 million
- children are acutely malnourished
One of the largest and least-developed countries in Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ranked 179th of 191 countries on the 2021/2022 Human Development Index. DRC is one of the largest hunger crises in the world. Hunger and conflict fuel one another, with armed conflict and widespread displacement prevailing for the past 25 years and multiple other crises compounding humanitarian challenges.
Populations in large swathes of eastern DRC have been living with conflict and displacement for much of the past two-and-a-half decades. This very often takes the form of ever-more fragmented armed groups preying on civilians and preventing them from accessing their fields. North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri are provinces where war and unrest have been the most protracted. In recent years, Tanganyika in the southeast and the central Kasai provinces have also been hit. Countrywide, 6.3 million people have fled their homes and lost their means of livelihood. Three out of every four internally displaced people live with host families, many of whom were already just scraping by before taking in strangers in need.
25.8 million people are projected to become acutely food insecure between January and June 2023, and an estimated 2.8 million children are currently acutely malnourished.
Around 1.1 million Congolese nationals are refugees in neighbouring countries. At the same time, DRC – already struggling with internal conflict – hosts over 529,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have fled violence in neighbouring countries, mainly the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
What WFP is doing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
WFP's emergency crisis response has been expanded in the three eastern provinces most affected by conflict and food insecurity – Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu – to address the deepening hunger crisis in these areas. In the provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental and Tanganyika, WFP's efforts in addressing the hunger crisis are evolving, to provide life-saving food assistance while transitioning towards development activities and long-term, food-security initiatives. While continuing to deliver critical life-saving support, WFP recognizes the importance of building resilience and sustainable solutions to combat food insecurity in these regions.
Support for smallholder farmers
WFP in partnership with FAO, UNHCR and UNICEF works with returnees, IDPs, refugees and local communities to build assets that improve resilience to shocks, promote self-reliance and economic recovery. These joint programs help smallholder farmers to improve production and trading capacities, provide trainings on agricultural techniques, literacy to promote women’s empowerment, construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure. Small-scale livelihood activities are also being developed with refugees from Central African Republic and host communities.
In order to treat and prevent malnutrition, WFP is providing specialized nutritious food to vulnerable people including children under 5, and pregnant women and nursing mothers.
WFP provides meals in schools in several regions of the country. The school-meals programme stimulates local agricultural production, improves pupils’ concentration and boosts enrolment and attendance.
United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) provides aid workers, donors and diplomatic missions with safe, flexible, efficient and cost-effective air transport to locations across a country the same size as Western Europe. In April 2023, UNHAS introduced a fleet of orange-painted helicopters to improve the safety of operations in the restive eastern DRC. The helicopters, alongside other safety measures such as ongoing access negotiations and community-engagement initiatives, underscore the commitment of WFP and its partners in ensuring the well-being of aid workers and the successful delivery of life-saving assistance.
Support to humanitarian coordination
WFP leads on logistics in the coordination of the humanitarian response in the DRC. Along with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) WFP also co-leads the coordination of food security activities.
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